It happens. Maybe from a bad dream, maybe from a tough night, maybe from stress and worry. And sometimes, in certain seasons, it happens much more often than we feel is okay. Let me tell you of my own experience and the “light bulb” moment that God graciously gave me last week as I was dealing with this.
Last week, as I was in a “funk” (probably from unnecessary stress), I flooded my day with prayer. Any quiet moment I got, I would just say a simple prayer, asking God to fill my heart with his joy and love, to take whatever it was that was causing my sour mood and replaced it with gratitude and generosity and patience. It didn’t happen right away. And even when it did happen, I didn’t notice it until the next quiet moment I had.
As I was going about my day in my bad mood, focused on myself and trying to figure out what I wasn’t getting that I needed (Because that MUST be why I was grumpy, right? Wrong.), right before lunch, my biggest and noisiest group of students came in for class. I was flooded with at least eight kids who were having a tough day and needed some support. As I spent the next hour talking with them, helping them, easing their stress, my own stress and negativity quietly retreated.
I have been a teacher for the last six years, and in those years, I have experienced far too many deaths of teenagers. They are not always my students, but they always affect my students and community, whom I love, care for, even admire. These kids are stronger than many give them credit for. They are more compassionate than often expected. They feel more than they let on.
Today, we lost another one of our young, promising kids. Today is a tough day. But we are a family–all of us: the human race. It is in times of tragedy that we see this the most.
Today I sit with the family of my school. We aren’t standing; we are sitting, weeping, hugging, finding our strength in each other’s arms. We take this day to pause with one another. Tomorrow, we will help each other to stand and move forward, always remembering, but still continuing on.
Every day, let us remember that we are all a family. That we have the ability, the power, the responsibility to love and support one another. If we remember this, then maybe we will begin to see a little less tragedy.
To all of my family in Christ, throughout the world, let us be the brothers and sisters He created us to be.
It’s been a difficult school year for me. And yesterday was particularly difficult. I was feeling down, feeling slightly defeated, feeling inept at my job. A few things then happened, though:
- I got an out-of-the-blue message from a past student, “just checking in–I hope all is well.” I mentioned briefly that it had been a rough day (as I was at the end of my day) but that overall life is going wonderfully (which it absolutely is, but that’s sometimes difficult to remember throughout a tough work day). We then entered into a conversation in which this now grown-up reminded me that I am good at my job, that I make a difference, that I impacted his life.
- I was reminded by this simple conversation that I have a box of letters that students have written me, and it is a solid reminder that I am doing good work here. This box is currently packed in a bigger box as I prepare to move houses, but just knowing it exists was surprisingly encouraging.
- I had dinner with my family. They always know how to cheer me up and build me up. They listen and share in my plights, validating how I feel, but also bringing kind words to remind me why I do what I do.
- I got a sweet note from my incredible fiance. He had earlier placed it in my lunch box, to find when I packed it this morning. His encouragement and love fills me up and gives me more love to share with my students and the world.
Yes. Terribly so. While this sometimes proves useful (keeps me from getting into some troubling situations), I would say that it presents an equal amount of difficulties for me in my adventures and relationships. I over-analyze everything. And, well, nothing is perfect, which means that overthinking highlights those flaws for me. Every. Stinking. Time.
And if I’m being completely honest, I think it’s gotten worse since being engaged. Being the biggest decision of my life, I am overthinking and over-analyzing more than ever because I want so badly to make sure that each decision is the right decision for my fiance and me and that it is God’s will for our lives.